Penumbra: Overture Image
Metascore
73

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 201 Ratings

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  • Summary: Played from a first person viewpoint, Penumbra is very different from other adventure games. Not only is it powered by a 3D engine utilising cutting edge technology, it also has an advanced physics system which allow for a never before seen environment interaction. The player can openPlayed from a first person viewpoint, Penumbra is very different from other adventure games. Not only is it powered by a 3D engine utilising cutting edge technology, it also has an advanced physics system which allow for a never before seen environment interaction. The player can open drawers, pull levers, pick up objects and more using natural mouse movements creating a highly interactive and immersive game world. The weapon system differs from your average game; swinging a melee weapon is done using the mouse which increases the realistic feel of combat. Fighting enemies is not something best done with brute force though, in most situations fighting is a last resort and the player is often better of using his/her wits. The AI of the enemies will also do its best to hunt and scare the player. The creatures encountered can break down doors, use group co-ordination, interact with the physics and more. Penumbra: Overture keeps players on the edge as they have to explore scary and immersive environments never knowing what is behind the next corner. The world is detailed, graphical as well as a story wise making the player feel part of the world as secrets are uncovered. [Strategy First] Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. The highs definitely outweigh the lows and this game breathes new life into an old genre.
  2. 81
    Where Penumbra really wins through however is in its storytelling and puzzle solving.
  3. The only charge that can really be brought against the game lies within the the aesthetics of the environment.
  4. It’s like a movie that you can recognize as being a well-made effort, but doesn’t actually engage you all that much.
  5. If you're interested in a serious relationship with gaming rather than purely out for a good time, please do take a look at Penumbra. It does some truly clever stuff, has an effectively creepy atmosphere and there's a few signposts in it that action and adventure games alike would do well to follow.
  6. 70
    Let's just hope they fix the combat and add a bit more character development in the next episode.
  7. 50
    Penumbra: Overture hits all the old notes like the Stones on their tenth farewell tour.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 48
  2. Negative: 5 out of 48
  1. Jul 30, 2011
    10
    This game was awesome. Truly one of the best horrors out there. Great story, great gameplay, and the ending leaves you wanting to play BlackThis game was awesome. Truly one of the best horrors out there. Great story, great gameplay, and the ending leaves you wanting to play Black Plague right away. Expand
  2. CarlD
    Jul 27, 2009
    10
    I have been playing horror games, reading frightening novels and drawing some genuinely creepy stuff for many years now. For the longest I have been playing horror games, reading frightening novels and drawing some genuinely creepy stuff for many years now. For the longest time, I was convinced that nothing could ever scare me again unless it was real life or death situations. Then I played Penumbra. I'm not even halfway through the game yet and I have to say it is purely terrifying, thought provoking and a challenging-but-not-impossible puzzle adventure game. Straight up the game only has two things going against it; the step-backwards graphics and the terribly clumsy combat system. The good heavily outweighs the bad, however. The game is practically in perpetual darkness the whole time so often the low-grade graphics are hidden well, and ironically the lighting in the game is incredible. As a puzzle/adventure game, it is certainly well done. It will challenge you to think, but it won't leave you going to an online walkthrough every five minutes. The clearest advantage this game has in the puzzle department is it's excellent physics engine, the HPL. Coincidence that those are the initials of H.P Lovecraft? I think not. But let's face it, what is the real reason we all got this game? To scare ourselves silly, and that's where this game really earns it's stars and stripes. This game had me spooked from the get-go. I was already feeling somewhat reluctant leaving the boat knowing the darkness that surely awaited me and man, was I right. This game is the first to ever have me scream "HOLY SHIT" at the top of my lungs. I play this game in small doses, so for me I'm not worried by the apparent shortness of the game. Really I don't know how you could play the game through one sitting and not be a jibbering wreck by the end of it. My advice to you on Penumbra? If you're a fan of horror or even just someone looking for a game that's more an experience then it is an action-thrill-fest, then get these games. Especially with the sales that mean you can bag them both for a mere 5 or ten dollars each. At that price even if somehow you don't like it, you will have not dug yourself a financial grave. Expand
  3. Mar 1, 2014
    9
    Some people say this is a copy of Amnesia, but that's not true. In fact, it's made by the same people, and even was made before Amnesia.Some people say this is a copy of Amnesia, but that's not true. In fact, it's made by the same people, and even was made before Amnesia. Although, Amnesia is scarier, the Penumbra series is still a great series.

    The game has clever puzzles, interesting characters, and a great story. It may not be that scary, but it still keeps you on the edge of your seat. The atmosphere is pretty good for a survival horror game, and area in which you can explore is pretty big. Overall, this game is pretty good, but what about the bad parts? Well, the game is short, the notes you collect through out the game can sometimes be a bit confusing, and the graphics aren't amazing. Although, for its time, the graphics aren't to bad. It's enough to live with, but not so bad that you'll quit playing the game instantly.
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  4. Aug 18, 2014
    8
    Ok, after so many years I was finally able to play the whole chapter. I am very sensitive to horror games....I was never able to go past theOk, after so many years I was finally able to play the whole chapter. I am very sensitive to horror games....I was never able to go past the first level, I tried many times and I always stopped. Once I got used to the 'fear' system of the game, the game stopped being too scary for me and I started enjoying instead of seeing it as a torture (this is a message to the chicken people like me who are scared by such games).

    Anyway, the game is cool enough. First of all, keep in mind that this is a Chapter. The game has no end, it is a cliffhanger ending so if you are one of those (like me) that hate unfinished things, keep in mind that even if you don't like the game so much, you will have to play all three chapters (overture, black plague, requiem) to see the end of the story.

    This chapter is quite short (6 hours are enough). Puzzles are nice, physics serve well that purpose. Graphically it is pleasant. Sounds is also still good enough for today's standards and controls are interesting. Can't say about the story because I have to play 2nd and 3rd chapter yet, but what can I say....so far so good ! 75/100
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  5. Jun 21, 2012
    7
    Having played Amnesia and being terrified witless, I decided to buy Frictional's first foray into Survival horror, and first game ever. First,Having played Amnesia and being terrified witless, I decided to buy Frictional's first foray into Survival horror, and first game ever. First, the positives. It's very atmospheric; the environments are creepy & unnerving and the first encounter with an enemy is unforgettable. Certain plot elements are well done and the character of Red is memorable. The physics system is just as clever as ever, perhaps even more so than Amnesia thanks to the more grounded setting and difficulty in using doors. Negatives: combat. The problem with the combat isn't that it's sticky or useless, it's because it's there! Something that's scary loses its sting when you can kill it, and fighting in this game you will inevitably find the exploit to easily deal with any enemy you encounter. The plot also relies too much on written notes and your character pointing out the obvious. I wish FG would decide if they want Phillip to be a silent protagonist or not: he goes through a long monologue at the beginning and then seems to lose his voice once the game begins, even when a particular character tries to contact him he still says nothing. Overall though, I liked Overture, and if you're looking for a good spook then I definitely recommend it. Expand
  6. Dec 31, 2011
    7
    The atmosphere in Penumbra: Overture is great. It's dark, creepy, lonely, and cold. The physics engine is okay, with some flaws here andThe atmosphere in Penumbra: Overture is great. It's dark, creepy, lonely, and cold. The physics engine is okay, with some flaws here and there, but nothing worth seriously complaining about. The moving of objects and melee actions can take getting used to, but once you're comfortable with the physics engine, it works okay, although far from perfectly. The game flows through the story smoothly without any frustration or senseless puzzles/problems to be solved. Everything is logical and upfront, requiring a realistic approach and a reasonable amount of thinking to proceed. The save system is unfriendly. It seems to save your progress when you update your personal notes, or when you interact with a certain object within the game world, which the player has little control over when this occurs. This means that you will often have to do certain portions of the game over and over until you get it right. The voice acting is superb. The accent and tone are outstanding and adds to the storyline greatly. All of the texts you will encounter in the game are well written, interesting, and adds plenty to the plot. The controls can be awkward at times in order to accomplish some actions the game requires. Penumbra: Overture is not a scary horror game. Most of its interesting emotional influences on the player comes from the theme of being almost completely solitary in an unknown place that is far from civilization and darkness. There are some instances in the game that requires the rapid change of items in conjunction to platforming and running, which I had to do many times to get it right. There is also a surprising amount of platforming as a whole for a primarily adventure game. Some parts of Penumbra: Overture are really cool, there is no denying that, but it does have a feel of an unpolished low budget title. With that said, this is probably one of the best adventure games I have ever played. It is logical and tense at all the right moments. I am not entirely sure for how long the main character is inside the mine, but the glow stick lasts for the entire duration of the game. You are not forced nor expected to use the flashlight nor the flares, which have finite longevity. I found melee fighting to be clunky and awkward, but this did not detract from the overall gaming experience. The ending is very creepy and will keep you glued to the plot, even though there is much left without explanations. The only major downside is the game's length. It is somewhat short and leaves you with a feeling of unfinished business with a cliffhanger. It took me about 8 hours to complete. Expand
  7. Aug 21, 2020
    0
    Ils ont fait un effort, dis donc: un jeu d'aventure tout en 3D avec des textures et tout et tout... en vue subjective en plus ! ça se veutIls ont fait un effort, dis donc: un jeu d'aventure tout en 3D avec des textures et tout et tout... en vue subjective en plus ! ça se veut horrifique mais c'est juste chiant et tout là-dedans est si mal fait qu'on arrive pas à croire que tout soit aussi mal fait... à part les graphismes tout-à-fait potables quand même.

    Mais tout le reste... ça reste un jeu d'aventure à la mords-moi-le-noeud, scripté, dirigiste et chiant. L'interface est juste horrible et bien plus terrifiante que tout le jeu entier : une interface cauchemardesque boulottée par une bande d'incapables, oui ça fait vraiment peur...!

    Le personnage a deux de tension ou un peu moins, la moindre action est d'une pénibilité extrême ; m'est avis qu'il devrait partir en pré-pré-retraite dès maintenant parce que c'est trop pénible et lent d'ouvrir un tiroir... ou alors, il devrait arrêter le Prozac. Donc en résumé, ça m'a à moitié soûlé et à moitié endormi, car cette torpeur est contagieuse... de toute façon, j'ai pas trouvé le script suivant permettant d'avancer comme l'on décidé la bande d'incapables qui ont démoulé cet étron de jeu.

    J'ai trouvé la poubelle par contre et j'ai fait un panier avec le boîtier et le disque : du premier coup ! c'était la partie la plus amusante du jeu (avec la désinstallation).
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See all 48 User Reviews